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Over the past decade, frozen fruits have been a major vehicle of foodborne illnesses mainly attributed to norovirus (NoV) and hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections. Fresh produce may acquire viral contamination by direct contact with contaminated surface, water or hands, and is then frozen without undergoing proper decontamination. Due to their structural integrity, foodborne viruses are able to withstand hostile conditions such as desiccation and freezing, and endure for a long period of time without losing their infectivity. Additionally, these foods are often consumed raw or undercooked, which increases the risk of infection. Herein, we searched published literature and databases of reported outbreaks as well as the databases of news articles for the viral outbreaks associated with the consumption of frozen produce between January 2008 and December 2018; recorded the worldwide distribution of these outbreaks; and analysed the implication of consumption of different types of contaminated frozen food. In addition, we have briefly discussed the factors that contribute to an increased risk of foodborne viral infection following the consumption of frozen produce. Our results revealed that frozen fruits, especially berries and pomegranate arils, contributed to the majority of the outbreaks, and that most outbreaks were reported in industrialised countries.
Frozen raw breaded chicken products (FRBCP) have been identified as a risk factor for Salmonella infection in Canada. In 2017, Canada implemented whole genome sequencing (WGS) for clinical and non-clinical Salmonella isolates, which increased understanding of the relatedness of Salmonella isolates, resulting in an increased number of Salmonella outbreak investigations. A total of 18 outbreaks and 584 laboratory-confirmed cases have been associated with FRBCP or chicken since 2017. The introduction of WGS provided the evidence needed to support a new requirement to control the risk of Salmonella in FRBCP produced for retail sale.
Noroviruses, along with rotaviruses, are among the leading causes of gastroenteritis worldwide and novel strains are periodically emerging. In August 2015, an unusual increase of gastroenteritis cases occurred in a touristic district in Kassandra peninsula, Chalkidiki, Northern Greece. Seven stool specimens from cases were tested positive for norovirus. Molecular investigation and phylogenetic analysis identified that there was co-circulation of norovirus GI.P2_GI.2 and the recombinant strain GII.P16_GII.13. A 1:1 case–control study conducted and showed that tap water consumption significantly associated with developing symptoms of gastroenteritis (odds ratio = 36.9, P = 0.018). The results of the epidemiological investigation, the co-circulation of two different norovirus strains, the information of a pipeline breakage at the water supply system before the onset of cases, and reports on flooded wells and sewage overflow, indicated the possibility of water contamination by sewage during the pipeline breakage leading to a large outbreak with a peak at 10 August and a possible secondary person-to-person transmission after the 16th of August. Norovirus GI.P2_GI.2 strains are rarely reported in Europe, while it is the first time that infection from the recombinant strain GII.P16_GII.13 is recorded in Greece.
To compare the epidemiologic features (e.g. settings and transmission mode) and patient clinical characteristics associated with outbreaks of different norovirus (Nov) strains, we retrospectively analysed data of Nov outbreaks occurring in Guangzhou, China from 2012 to 2018. The results suggested that outbreaks of Nov GII.2, GII.17 and GII.4 Sydney exhibited different outbreak settings, transmission modes and symptoms. GII.2 outbreaks mainly occurred in kindergartens, elementary and high schools and were transmitted mainly through person-to-person contact. By contrast, GII.4 Sydney outbreaks frequently occurred in colleges and were primarily associated with foodborne transmission. Cases from GII.2 and GII.17 outbreaks reported vomiting more frequently than those from outbreaks associated with GII.4 Sydney.
The aim of our study was to describe and to investigate the factors associated with glycopeptide-resistant enterococci (GRE) acquisition during a single-strain outbreak which occurred in several wards of hospital from September 2013 to January 2014. We designed a case–control study. Analyses were performed using Bayesian methods. Univariate logistic regressions with informative priors from published studies were conducted. A multivariate model was build including variables with a probability of odd-ratio exceeding one (Pr) >85% or <15%. Thirteen cases and 52 controls were recruited. The description of this outbreak highlighted the importance to quickly detect patients at risk of GRE carriage in order to implement the isolation measures and to transfer to dedicated department if they are effectively carriers. Following multivariate analysis, antibiotics during hospitalisation (Pr = 0.968), number of hospitalisation days in the year (Pr = 0.964), antacids intake (Pr = 0.878) (with a risk increase), immunosuppression (Pr = 0.026) and isolation measures (Pr = 0.003) (both with protective effect) were associated with GRE acquisition. The use of Bayesian statistics was useful because of our study's small population size and prior information availability.
Nipah virus (NiV) is an emerging bat-borne pathogen. It was first identified 20 years ago in Malaysia and has since caused outbreaks in other parts of South and Southeast Asia. It causes severe neurological and respiratory disease which is highly lethal. It is highly infectious and spreads in the community through infected animals or other infected people. Different strains of the virus show differing clinical and epidemiological features. Rapid diagnosis and implementation of infection control measures are essential to contain outbreaks. A number of serological and molecular diagnostic techniques have been developed for diagnosis and surveillance. Difficulties in diagnosis and management arise when a new area is affected. The high mortality associated with infection and the possibility of spread to new areas has underscored the need for effective management and control. However, no effective treatment or prophylaxis is readily available, though several approaches show promise. Given the common chains of transmission from bats to humans, a One Health approach is necessary for the prevention and control of NiV infection.
Immunization data are vital to support responses to vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks. The Oregon Immunization Program developed a unique prototype instrument—the Rapid Response Tool (RRT)—that provides population data to local responders within 2 hours of a request. Data outputs include vaccination coverage by age group and zip code; percentages of students with nonmedical exemptions to vaccination requirements, by school; and current, comprehensive lists of local vaccination providers.
The RRT was demonstrated to staff at 7 Oregon counties and feedback was solicited via comments and a structured survey.
The RRT received strong support. Attendees identified several uses for RRT data, including outbreak response and ongoing intervention efforts, and they pointed to areas for further development.
The success of the RRT demonstrations illustrates that a well-populated immunization information system can contribute to preparedness work well beyond current standards. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:682–685)
In June 2015, an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis with 35 cases (23 probable and 12 laboratory-confirmed) occurred among 191 attendees of a residential rehabilitation holiday for paediatric organ transplant patients (n = 49) and their families at a hotel in Somogy county, Hungary. The overall attack rate was 18%. Most of the cases were transplanted children who experienced severe acute disease and required adjustment to their tacrolimus immunosuppression. A retrospective case-control study suggested an association between recreational water exposures and illness: cases were seven times more likely than controls to have swum in the children's pool (odds ratio 7.17; 95% confidence interval 2.9–17.2; P < 0.0001) and five times more likely to have used the jetted whirlpool (odds ratio 5.25; 95% confidence interval 2.1–13.1; P < 0.0001). This was the first outbreak of cryptosporidiosis in Hungary and it is especially unfortunate that it affected vulnerable children who experienced severe symptoms. Cryptosporidium presents specific infection control difficulties in treated recreational water venues; the link to a whirlpool is unusual and highlights the importance of the age-appropriate use of these facilities and reminding users not to immerse their heads or swallow the water. Cryptosporidiosis is more commonly linked to children’ pools where improved bather hygiene and promoting exclusion of diarrhoea cases could help to avoid similar outbreaks.
We report an ongoing measles outbreak in Greece. The first cases were notified through the mandatory notification system on May 2017 in Northern Greece and concerned a cluster of three imported cases in unvaccinated Roma siblings. So far, 3150 cases have been reported in all 13 Regions. Initially, the outbreak mainly affected Greek Roma but as it progressed it spread to non-minority Greek nationals. The outbreak reached its ultimate peak on week 10/2018 but from week 15/2018 has been gradually declining. Most cases (60.6%) were Roma (especially children <10 year-old) followed by non-minority Greek nationals (29.3%; mostly young adults). The majority (80.4%) were unvaccinated. Interestingly, 129 (4.1%) cases were healthcare workers (HCWs). Genotype B3 was identified by molecular methods in all 87 cases tested. Overall, 61.3% of the cases were hospitalised. Complications were reported in 17.1% of the cases among which four deaths. The outbreak occurred after 3 years without local endemic measles transmission. Extensive vaccination implemented as the major public health measure managed to prevent the emergence of a large number of cases in refugee/migrant hosting sites. Mitigation efforts currently focus on raising awareness among HCWs and closing the immunisation gap in populations with suboptimal vaccination coverage.
An emerging recombinant norovirus GII.P16/GII.4 Sydney 2012 strain caused a gastroenteritis outbreak amongst attendees at a large health function in regional New South Wales, Australia. This was the third outbreak caused by the recombinant GII.P16/GII.4 Sydney 2012 strain in this region in 2017, which appears to be emerging as a common strain in the Hunter New England region.
In this study, we identified a multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) outbreak in a high school in northern China. The aim of this work was to describe TB transmission, drug resistance and treatment outcomes for this patient cluster. In January 2017, pulmonary TB was identified in a 17-year-old boy in northern China. Subsequently, a total of 11 TB cases were identified during 6-month follow-up of attendees of the same school. Of five students with latent TB infection (LTBI) receiving isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT), two pulmonary TB cases (40.0%) emerged in March and April, for an active case rate not significantly different from that of the non-IPT group (4/16, 25.0%, P = 0.598). All TB patients were first treated with a standardised first-line treatment regimen administered by the local TB hospital, with 11 of 12 active TB patients exhibiting poor treatment outcomes. Further data demonstrated that all nine patient isolates collected during this outbreak were MDR-TB and shared a common genotypic profile. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that diagnostic delay for the index MDR-TB case of this outbreak played a primary role in transmission of MDR-TB infection within a school setting. Importantly, IPT failed to prevent progression of MDR-TB from LTBI to active TB.
The main objective of our study was to describe the epidemiological and microbiological features of an oligoclonal hospital-wide outbreak caused by OXA-48-producing Enterobacteriaceae (OXA-48-PE). OXA-48 is a carbapenemase belonging to Ambler class D beta-lactamases, identified frequently in the Mediterranean and Southern European countries, and associated with several Enterobacteriaceae species. An outbreak of OXA-48-PE with a complex epidemic pattern was detected in January 2011. Initial control measures included contact precautions and the reinforcement of infection control practices, but despite all efforts made, the epidemiological situation hardly changed and new measures were implemented during 2013. An observational retrospective study was performed to describe the main features of the outbreak and to analyse the cumulative incidence (CI) trends. Eight hundred and 16 patients colonised or infected by OXA-48-PE were identified during the 2-year period (January 2013–December 2014), female 46%, mean age (s.d.), 71.6 (15.2). The samples isolated in the incident cases were rectal swabs (80%), urine samples (10.7%), blood samples (2.8%) and other clinical samples (6.6%). The most frequent OXA-48-PE was Klebsiella pneumoniae. Eleven different clones were identified, but K. pneumoniae sequence types 11 and 405 were predominant: ST11 (64.2%) and ST405 (29.3%). OXA-48-PE CI trend suffered a statistically significant change in August 2013, which continued the following months. Though we could not eradicate the outbreak, we observed a statistically significant drop in CI after an intervention for OXA-48-PE control, based on patient cohort, active surveillance, electronic alerts and reinforcement of infection control measures in a tertiary hospital.
In June 2016, a Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis outbreak (n = 56) occurred after a christening reception in Central Greece, mainly affecting previously healthy adults; one related death caused media attention. Patients suffered from profuse diarrhoea, fever and frequent vomiting episodes requiring prolonged hospitalisation and sick leave from work, with a 54% hospital admission rate. The majority of cases experienced serious illness within <12 h of attending the party. We investigated the outbreak to identify the source(s) of infection and contributing factors to the disease severity. From the retrospective cohort study, the cheesy penne pasta was the most likely vehicle of infection (relative risk 7·8; 95% confidence interval 3·6–16·8), explaining 79% of the cases. S. enterica ser. Enteritidis isolates were typed as phage-type PT8, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis type XbaI.0024, multiple locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis-type 2-9-7-3-2. The strain did not share the single-nucleotide polymorphism address of the concurrent European S. enterica ser. Enteritidis PT8 outbreak clusters. Following five consecutive years with no documented S. enterica ser. Enteritidis outbreaks in Greece, this outbreak, likely associated with a virulent strain, prompted actions towards the enhancement of the national Salmonella molecular surveillance and control programmes including the intensification of training of food handlers for preventing similar outbreaks in the future. Advanced molecular techniques were useful in distinguishing unrelated outbreak strains.
An unprecedented outbreak of Ebola virus diseases (EVD) occurred in West Africa from March 2014 to January 2016. The French Institute for Public Health implemented strengthened surveillance to early identify any imported case and avoid secondary cases.
Febrile travellers returning from an affected country had to report to the national emergency healthcare hotline. Patients reporting at-risk exposures and fever during the 21st following day from the last at-risk exposure were defined as possible cases, hospitalised in isolation and tested by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Asymptomatic travellers reporting at-risk exposures were considered as contact and included in a follow-up protocol until the 21st day after the last at-risk exposure.
From March 2014 to January 2016, 1087 patients were notified: 1053 were immediately excluded because they did not match the notification criteria or did not have at-risk exposures; 34 possible cases were tested and excluded following a reliable negative result. Two confirmed cases diagnosed in West Africa were evacuated to France under stringent isolation conditions. Patients returning from Guinea (n = 531; 49%) and Mali (n = 113; 10%) accounted for the highest number of notifications.
No imported case of EVD was detected in France. We are confident that our surveillance system was able to classify patients properly during the outbreak period.
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is a significant cause of gastrointestinal infection and the haemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). STEC outbreaks are commonly associated with food but animal contact is increasingly being implicated in its transmission. We report an outbreak of STEC affecting young infants at a nursery in a rural community (three HUS cases, one definite case, one probable case, three possible cases and five carriers, based on the combination of clinical, epidemiological and laboratory data) identified using culture-based and molecular techniques. The investigation identified repeated animal contact (animal farming and petting) as a likely source of STEC introduction followed by horizontal transmission. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) was used for real-time investigation of the incident and revealed a unique strain of STEC O26:H11 carrying stx2a and intimin. Following a public health intervention, no additional cases have occurred. This is the first STEC outbreak reported from Israel. WGS proved as a useful tool for rapid laboratory characterization and typing of the outbreak strain and informed the public health response at an early stage of this unusual outbreak.
Motivated by disease outbreaks and trade shocks, a dynamic equilibrium displacement model is calibrated for the U.S. pear industry to simulate welfare from various shocks compared to a baseline. Our contribution is assessing the impact to intermediary packers for fresh fruit and processors for processed fruit in addition to growers and consumers. The processed market is more sensitive than the fresh market generally, and supply shocks induce larger impacts on both markets than trade sanctions. Impacts to intermediaries are on par with growers, indicating that not considering them misstates the distribution of damages to the industry from a shock.
On 12 July 2015, a triathlon competition with 900 participants took place in Utrecht, the Netherlands. An outbreak investigation was initiated after 56 participants reported health complaints. An online questionnaire was sent to 700 participants. Stool specimens from six participants and four water specimens were collected from the swimming location. A total of 239 participants completed the questionnaire (response rate: 34%), 73 (31%) of them met the case definition for acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI). A total of 67% of the respondents were male and the median age was 38 years. Almost half (42%) of swimmers reported health complaints. Consumption of energy drinks and ingesting ⩾3 mouthfuls of canal water were identified as risk factors for AGI among swimmers only (adjusted relative risks (aRR) 1·6; 95% confidence intervals (CI) 1·0–2·5 and aRR 2·6; 95% CI 1·5–4·8). The collected water specimens tested positive for norovirus genogroup I and rotavirus and stool specimens tested positive for norovirus genogroup II. Our findings indicate that the outbreak could have been caused by exposure to norovirus during swimming. Swimmers should get information about the health risks for making an informed choice about participating. For future events, the organisers decided to change the swimming location from a canal to a recreational lake.
During May 2015, an increase in Salmonella Agona cases was reported from western Sydney, Australia. We examine the public health actions used to investigate and control this increase. A descriptive case-series investigation was conducted. Six outbreak cases were identified; all had consumed cooked tuna sushi rolls purchased within a western Sydney shopping complex. Onset of illness for outbreak cases occurred between 7 April and 24 May 2015. Salmonella was isolated from food samples collected from the implicated premise and a prohibition order issued. No further cases were identified following this action. Whole genome sequence (WGS) analysis was performed on isolates recovered during this investigation, with additional S. Agona isolates from sporadic-clinical cases and routine food sampling in New South Wales, January to July 2015. Clinical isolates of outbreak cases were indistinguishable from food isolates collected from the implicated sushi outlet. Five additional clinical isolates not originally considered to be linked to the outbreak were genomically similar to outbreak isolates, indicating the point-source contamination may have started before routine surveillance identified an increase. This investigation demonstrated the value of genomics-guided public health action, where near real-time WGS enhanced the resolution of the epidemiological investigation.
The outbreaks of varicella occurring in kindergartens and schools are increasingly notified in Shanghai despite the implementation of one-dose varicella vaccination. We analyzed surveillance data on the notified outbreaks of varicella in Minhang District of Shanghai during 2008–2014. A total of 13 511 varicella cases and 154 outbreaks involving 1558 (11·5%) cases were reported. Annual attack rates of outbreak-associated varicella in outbreak classes were 5·5%–12%. The mean age of the outbreak-associated cases was 8·6 ± 3·1 years. Among 1558 outbreak cases, 660 (42·4%) received one-dose varicella vaccine previously. The proportions of breakthrough varicella infection during outbreaks ranged from 21·5% in 2008 to 86·1% in 2014. Annual breakthrough infection rates in outbreak classes ranged from 5·4% to 7·4%. Breakthrough cases as index cases results in 9·7% of outbreaks, and the average duration of outbreaks was significantly longer in vaccinated cases as index cases than in unvaccinated cases as index cases (11·3 ± 5·8 days vs. 8·6 ± 6·1 days, P < 0·05). The mean time of breakthrough infection since vaccination was 6·2 ± 2·3 years (range 0·6–13·4 years). One-dose varicella vaccination cannot prevent the varicella outbreaks in kindergartens and schools. A second dose of varicella vaccine should be recommended for children.
A Q fever outbreak was declared in February 2016 in a company that manufactures hoists and chains and therefore with no apparent occupational-associated risk. Coxiella burnetii infection was diagnosed by serology in eight of the 29 workers of the company; seven of them had fever or flu-like signs and five had pneumonia, one requiring hospitalisation. A further case of C. burnetii pneumonia was diagnosed in a local resident. Real-time PCR (RTi–PCR) showed a widespread distribution of C. burnetii DNA in dust samples collected from the plant facilities, thus confirming the exposure of workers to the infection inside the factory. Epidemiological investigations identified a goat flock with high C. burnetii seroprevalence and active shedding which was owned and managed by one of the workers of the company as possible source of infection. Genotyping by multispacer sequence typing (MST) and a 10-loci single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) discrimination using RTi–PCR identified the same genotype (MST18 and SNP type 8, respectively) in the farm and the factory. These results confirmed the link between the goat farm and the outbreak and allowed the identification of the source of infection. The circumstances and possible vehicles for the bacteria entering the factory are discussed.